Involving kids in the kitchen helps develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, learn math and science concept, learn new vocabulary, use their 5-senses and learn about healthy foods. Each one of the recipes that we share on our website involves each one of these skills. We also make a variety of recipes from around the world which encourages kids to be more globally aware and conscious of other cultures. We are sharing the Turkish version of red lentil soup or mercimek corbasi today and some tips on having kids help you make it below!
This recipe was part of our Ramadan cooking around the world series, other recipes can be found here.
A Turkish soup?
We make the Turkish version of red lentil soup in our house; other versions around the world include Chana dal from India or Moroccan Lentil Soup. These other versions include different ingredients from the Turkish version like garlic, tomatoes or use a different kind of lentils. This soup is a staple of Turkish cuisine as it is served in most Turkish households and restaurants. When you are invited to dinner in a Turkish home, you will mostly likely eat this soup. Red lentil soup is a quick to make, cheap and very filling soup. This is because lentils provide a good source of protein. Red lentils are also easier to cook than the green or brown lentils and they create a creamy texture when blended together.
Kid-Friendly Recipe to Make
This is one of the first recipes that I learned when I started making Turkish cuisine, probably because it is one of the easiest ones. Therefore, it is a simple recipe to have kids to make too.
Kids could help
- peel and chop onions
- pour and measure the red lentils out of the box into a bowl
- place the onions in the pot with the oil
- chop up carrots or potatoes if adding them to the soup
- here you could talk about how to dice them small so that they cook evenly with the lentils. We will be blending our soup and we wouldn’t like big pieces in the soup
- have them scoop out the pepper paste
- get a spice bowl ready so that they can put the spices in later
- boil water
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2 medium size onion - finely chopped
- 1-2 carrots, roundly sliced*
- 1 potato, peeled and diced*
- 1 beef or chicken bouillon cube or 4 cups broth
- 2 tbsp tomato or pepper paste
- 1 tsp salt
- 4-8 cups of water
- Spices like paprika, red pepper flakes, basil, thyme, black pepper optional but they make the soup taste a lot better
- With a regular soup pot: Sautee the onion, carrots, potato with 1 tbsp oil for 3-4 minutes. Add the paste and cook for a couple of minutes, and add the lentils.
- Add about half of the water and spices. Let cook until lentils seem to have broken open. 5 minutes
- Add rest of the water and allow to cook on medium heat until the lentils are soft and mushy, for about 20-25 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender or regular blender to smooth out the soup.
- Serve when hot.
This soup is traditionally served with bread and a squeeze of lemon on top. We enjoy eating this soup alongside grilled cheese.